Last week’s Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) began with Sakurai-san asking Matsumoto-kun what his number one memory from 2012 was. MatsuJun rattles off all the big events they did – Arafes, the Popcorn Live Tour, Wakuwaku Gakkou, and 24-hr TV. But that’s not good enough for Sakurai-san, who asks MatsuJun to narrow it down, and perhaps go for a more private experience.

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So, MatsuJun answers that his trip to Spain stands out. Apparently, he bought the other members gifts – Barcelona soccer jerseys.

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The topic turns to the guests, who watch as the Arashi members guess about their identities.

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They are NTV announcers Masu Taichi-san (桝太一), Kamishige Satoshi-san (上重聡), and Aoki Genta-san (青木源太). My first thought on seeing them was “didn’t we just have an announcer last month?” And indeed, we did, on November 10th. That happened to be a remarkably boring episode, so my heart sank when I saw this bunch. Why more announcers so soon? Well, obviously it’s because NTV wants to promote its morning shows.

It doesn’t really look like the Arashi guys are too thrilled about the announcers as guests, either. Aiba-kun’s expression was actually the most optimistic-looking, and it was fairly neutral:

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The problem was that the Arashi members, in guessing who the guest might be, aimed a bit high. As a result, the announcers actually had to kick things off by apologizing for disappointing them. Even the audience didn’t really react or cheer as enthusiastically as they normally do (though they eventually worked up some good smiles when the cameras turned to them), so there was a clear awareness that these guests were a step down from normal Arashi ni Shiyagare expectations.

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The announcers have to introduce themselves. Kamishige-san is Ohno-san’s age, Masu-san is Sakurai-san’s age, and Aoki-san, recently married, is 29 like Ninomiya-kun and Matsumoto-kun.

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Sakurai-san congratulates Aoki-san on the marriage. Aoki-san points out that Kamishige-san, the eldest, is single, while the other two are married. In response to those introductions, Ohno-san introduces Arashi in a funny way – much like he might have when they had just debuted, and they all take a bow, introducing themselves as single/bachelors (独身 – dokushin).

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Moving right along, Ninomiya-kun does the set change call, and out pop assistants Heisei Nobushi Kobushi.

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And this follows a pattern – Nobushi Kobushi were the helpers in the previous announcer episode, too, and there everyone spent the time sitting around while the helpers asked questions of Arashi and the guests, putting the answers on a board. Sakurai-san asks if it’s the same corner this time, and indeed, it is.

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That’s . . . sad. It’s not like it went all that well before. Anyway, the first question is what they have to do as soon as they get up in the morning. How mundane can you get?

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Arashi starts by trying to guess the answer for the announcers, with Ohno-san pretty sure he has it, but everyone ignoring him and Ninomiya-kun pulling his arm down. Evidently, this is a running gag between Ninomiya-kun and Ohno-san.

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Of course, to complete the gag, Ninomiya-kun is the one who answers and gets the answer right – the announcers practice their speaking/pronunciation.

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Somewhat bizarrely, Kamishige-san says he sings Arashi songs to practice – specifically “Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi” (“感謝カンゲキ雨嵐”). He adds a “-san” at the end of the song title for a laugh.

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Then, for even more laughs, he demonstrates his morning routine of singing the song while washing up:

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Well, that was interesting. Somewhat disturbing, but still interesting. Much of the talk proved uninteresting (the Arashi answers were pretty much in-character) – at least without subtitles. So if you don’t mind, I’ll focus in specifically on the highlights of the episode going forward instead of trying to detail the conversation (which I would do badly anyway).

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It started to get more fun about sixteen minutes in, when they brought in weather caster Ueno Yuka-san (上野優花), and demonstrated half-minute info spots with her doing the briefest of weather updates.

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Masu-san and Ueno-san showed them the slick model that they would have to match – the Zip! version:

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Watching it will certainly give you an appreciation for the professionalism of these casters.

Then it was time for the Zoom-in version with Kamishige-san recruiting Aiba-kun as a thirty-second guest:

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Then Aiba-kun had to take Kamishige-san’s place, and the other Arashis stood in as the guests, playing stiff and non-responsive kids.


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Back to the talking, the discussion turns to their nighttime fashion.

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To help with this fashion phase, they bring out another guest – Don Konishi-san (ドン小西). Which leads me to a question – why is it that supposedly fashionable men all look like Victorian era eccentrics?

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Konishi-san critiques the fashion choices of the announcers. This is going to be harsh.

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Masu-san got the worst results:

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Then the show suddenly gets a lot better. The announcers want to challenge the Arashi members in two games. The first is a baseball pitching contest, and the second is a Johnny’s intro quiz.

In the pitching contest, Ninomiya-kun faces off against the much more experienced Kamishige-san, each attempting to knock a can from a table with a pitch.

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Who do you think will win?

After that, it’s the Johnny’s intro quiz . . .

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. . . but before that, Ninomiya-kun has to encounter the unknown:

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In this case, the unknown is editor-in-chief of GQ Japan, Suzuki Masafumi-san (鈴木正文). And again, he’s clearly a stylish fellow because nobody would wear something like that unless they were stylish.

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Out of all things, Suzuki-san’s purpose is to help Ninomiya-kun pick out luggage – particularly, the type which lacks rollers and you have to carry everywhere instead of dragging. In other words, the type that’s a total pain, though it can arguably build some muscle.

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He sends Nino-kun to this place (free publicity, here we come) to pick out luggage:

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And . . . yeah . . . fancy luggage time.

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Well, there’s no question that Nino-kun travels a lot and could use some luggage. But since he’s already going to be physically taxed whenever he’s on a trip (since it will most often be for concerts and events), I can’t imagine he would appreciate the added inconvenience of a bag without rollers. Sometimes, practicality has to trump style.

We go back to the much-anticipated Johnny’s intro quiz, with Aoki-san alone going up against all five Arashi members. Can one lone announcer really put Arashi, the current pinnacle of the Johnny’s empire, to shame?

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Aoki-san grabs the first one after a single trumpet blast. This could be trouble. The songs were definitely fair, by the way – no confusing things by going to songs from Arashi’s kouhai or anything they’d have could have trouble with.

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This show was better than I expected after finding out who the guests would be, but I really hope they don’t do announcers again for a very, very long time. It was slow at the start, but got more interesting as the episode went along, and ended on a strong note.

They need to do something better with the “Encounter the Unknown” segments. Just having the Arashi guys go out for food or shop for a trivial item is great promotion for the place they go to, but it feels less substantial than it used to be in the first year of the show.

For this episode, the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi was definitely Ninomiya-kun, simply because he was at the clear center of most of the action. Sure, he stole the stage from Ohno-san at the start, but then there was the pitching contest and the segment with Suzuki-san, and altogether, it just felt like he dominated the screen time.